Sports

Mid Isle Highlanders extending soccer season after Cup win

The Mid Isle FC Highlanders collected another championship this month and have refocused on trying to win another.

The U21 soccer team, representing Ladysmith and Nanaimo, won its first-round B.C. Cup game this past weekend, defeating Surrey on the road Saturday by a 3-0 score.

Two weeks ago, Mid Isle FC won its second-straight George Smith Cup as the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s U21 champions, shutting out Lakehill 5-0 at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Blaze Roberts scored two goals in that one, and Ali Adeeb, Keegan Lang and man of the match Jordan de Graaf were the other scorers.

Defending the title was nice, said coach Bill Merriman, and now the team is hoping to improve on its second-round exit from last year’s provincial cup tournament. Shutting out Surrey this past weekend was an encouraging start.

“I thought it was a team that we should be beating and we had an opportunity and we weren’t taking it,” Merriman said. “In the second half we came out and the team responded really well.”

De Graaf scored twice, Lang also tallied and Ivan Hutsulyak earned the shutout.

Playing do-or-die games is a good learning experience for a young team, the coach said.

“It’s a good environment for them to get into these playoff games to prepare for [college soccer],” Merriman said. “They’re starting to get it and figure it out.”

Mid Isle FC will face Aldergrove on the road in Round 2 of provincial cup play on April 26 or 27.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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